Arix, Takeda team up to build oncology, GI biotechs

Arix Bioscience has teamed up with Takeda Ventures to create and grow biotechs. The agreement gives Arix another outlet for turning promising research into biotech startups, and Takeda access to the deal flow provided by the network its new partner has put together.

Takeda signaled its interest in Arix last month when it contributed to the U.K. investment group’s £100 million ($123 million) IPO alongside Neil Woodford, UCB and others. The IPO gave Arix the cash to invest in another 10 to 15 early-stage biotechs. And now, through the strategic agreement with Takeda, it has an additional source of support and expertise to draw on as it selects, creates and grows its next batch of portfolio picks.

"Arix and Takeda have a common goal in sourcing and building the best innovation in healthcare and life sciences. Through this agreement with Takeda we can draw upon a wealth of experience in identifying, creating and growing companies to develop innovative new therapies and further develop existing and new group businesses, accelerating their growth and creating value for our investors,” Arix CEO Joe Anderson said in a statement.

Takeda and Arix are each contributing people to a joint advisory committee that will guide how the partners approach creating and building biotechs. In keeping with Takeda’s broader R&D activities, oncology and gastrointestinal programs are the primary focus of the collaboration, although it may also take in opportunities in other areas.

The agreement makes Takeda the second biopharma company to team up with Arix. UCB came on board before the IPO with a similar brief to jointly build biotechs.

Both companies were attracted by the team and network Arix has put together. Arix has struck up relationships with groups including the Max Planck Lead Discovery Center and U.S. accelerator BioMotiv to give it a flow of investment opportunities from around the world. And it has rounded up a team of Big Pharma, biotech and VC veterans—including ex-Abingworth partner Anderson and serial entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans—to assess where to invest.